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Ethics Essay Contest Judging Process and Standards

Contest Rules and Judging

The Annual Ethics Essay Contest, sponsored by TWI in partnership with the ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, is one way that TWI and the Lincoln Center are working together to promote ethics in the educational community. This is a unique and rigorous essay contest that challenges students to reflect upon and write about how ethical considerations impact their lives. To be eligible for consideration in the final judging of the essays, all student submissions from participating schools must meet the following contest requirements and criteria:

Submission Requirements

  • Essays must be 600-800 words in length.

  • Entries must be submitted in Microsoft Word.

  • Entries must be submitted online by the deadline.

  • Essays must address the topic and respond to all essay components listed.

  • Essays must be the independent work of the student.

  • Answers to essay questions MUST be in colored font.(q.1-orange, q.2-bright green, q.3-turquoise, q.4-pink, q.5-red).

Judging Criteria

After screening for eligibility, essays are judged on the basis of: (a) the most thorough and well-organized responses to all essay prompt components, and (b) the student’s ability to explore and discuss the ideas and ethical concepts that support her/his position incorporating ALL components of the prompt. Grammar and spelling are not considered in determining finalists. No particular ethical perspective is imposed on the essays, so students are encouraged to express themselves freely.

Judging Process

Judging is conducted in three parts by TWI and Lincoln Center staff, faculty and community leaders: (1) screening all written essays for compliance with contest requirements and criteria and identifying the top 10 essays at each grade for each school, (2) rank ordering each grade’s 10 essays by teams of five readers (one team for each grade level at each school) narrowing the competition to three finalists for each grade level at each school, (3) conducting interviews with the finalists at their schools to better understand each student’s perspective. Winning essays are selected for each eligible school.

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